Seeing is believing! Before the Thanksgiving break, on Thursday, November 19, Derby hosted a new program where parents could have a “Derby Classroom Experience.” For two hours that morning we could visit a number of classrooms at each grade level. The only stipulation was that we couldn’t visit our own child’s classroom, as that program will be another morning early in the new year. Not to worry, there was plenty to see! Because our family joined Derby last year, we’re still learning about the school. It was a great opportunity for me to see the teachers and students in action. Our kids have had a good experience so far, and I wanted to see for myself what it was like and what the future holds.
This morning was different than the overview provided at Back-to-School Night in the fall. It provided me with a deeper understanding as class was in session. It was real-time. I wanted to see as much as possible, so I visited six classrooms and felt comfortable slipping in and out, sometimes for only 15 minutes. Some teachers came over to give a brief overview of what they were doing if the students were working independently, and others carried on with their lessons without interruption. What I liked best was that the students in the fifth to eighth grade classes I visited were engaged. They were not just present. They were engaged by raising their hands, giving their opinions, playing games in Spanish, working out tough math problems together on the whiteboard, and debating aspects of the Civil War. The teachers listened, guided, questioned, and made the students feel like their thoughts and ideas mattered. The classrooms were interactive, not the old “I lecture; you listen” approach of the past.
I also enjoyed putting a face and a personality to the names of the teachers my kids have been telling me about. If you weren’t sure what the program was, or didn’t have time to attend, please keep it in mind on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. It was well worth it!